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Osaka-An Earthquake to Shake Things Up

Yesterday, I didn't have any plans. I wanted to find an English bookstore, and to walk around the city. Otherwise, I had no plans.

It turns out I picked a good day to have no plans. As usual, I went to the common area of the hostel to use my computer. The wifi didn't work-so I went to a small table near the front desk of the hostel on the lobby, where I was able to get the wifi on. The staff came in. At around 8:00 am, the table started shaking softly, and then it started shaking violently. The whole room started shaking violently. Some pictures fell off the wall, I think. I held on to my expensive camera so it didn't fall off the table. An alarm went off, and about 20 folks from the hostel, groggy from being woke up, walked down the stairs and went outside.


After a few minutes, the shaking stopped. I joined the others from the hostel, we chatted for a while. One girl from Southern California said she thought that was the worst earthquake she had ever been through. The two staff workers at the hostel we're nonchalant. Apparently they have been through enough earthquakes here in Japan that this was no big deal. (I found out a few weeks ago Japan has an earthquake at least once a day-although many are extremely minor). This actually wasn't the first earthquake I experienced. Back in the 90's I was living south of Boston in a rented room in a house on a small street. One morning, I felt the house shake-it felt like a big truck went up the street. When I got into the car to go to work I learned it was an earthquake (it may have been from a nuclear power plant 10 miles away or so). When I got to work that day-someone was recounting the earthquake, shaking a desk back and forth violently (but I remember, it felt like a big truck-nothing more ). THIS earthquake felt more like his exaggerated movements. While it was somewhat scary and exhilarating at once-I thought it was just an interesting way to start the day. I wanted to get on with my day, so I planned a free walking tour I found out online.

I walked outside-everything looked normal, and walked down to the metro station to take the metro 4 stops to the walking tour (Which started in about an hour-but I wanted to get there early). People we're just mulling around the metro station, but there was a sign mentioning there was no service. So I walked back up the stairs, and tried walking to the area (I walked there the previous night-so I thought I could find it ok). When I walked at night, I found some bright lights that indicated where it was-Since it was daytime there we're no bright lights. So I walked roughly an hour in the wrong direction. I eventually found a metro station-but the metro was still closed. I walked 45 minutes to the meeting point.


Google Maps was still working on my phone-so once I found some wifi-at 7-11, I turned on Google Maps, and walked about 45 minutes in the correct direction. Wifi also told me the walking tour was cancelled, as the tour guide was stuck in a train during the earthquake. He did say there was a 1:30 walking tour, and I decided to wait for that.

At 1:30, I met some others waiting for the tour to start. We waited 1/2 an hour-the tour guide didn't show up. I learned this tour was cancelled to. So I walked around a little, and decided to go back to the hostel and take a nap. I did, and read my book. (I was able to take the metro-it started running again).

After a while, I Found there was an English bookstore about 45 minutes from the hostel by the main train station. As I walked along-I discovered that about 1/2 of all stores we're closed. In the train station-folks we're just standing around as well-most trains we're cancelled. That day, I also learned that the earthquake was a 6.0 on the Richter scale, and at other parts of the city, there was a lot more damage, and some injuries.

I wanted to go back to the conveyor belt sushi place for dinner-but it was closed. So I took the metro back to where the walking tour was supposed to be (there are lots of restaurants/vendors there). and had some noodles and some grilled dumplings, and then went back. I had a beer with some guys from the hostel on the roof.

Posted by DavidPearlman 14:50 Archived in Japan

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